For decades, the language associated with the LBG fight for equal rights has transformed from Gay Marriage and Same-Sex Marriage to Marriage Equality. Many are still using the term “same-sex marriage” but I’d like to see everyone strike that language from your vocabulary. Why? Let me explain…
Transgender and gender-queer people have been excluded from the freedom to marry the person they love simply because their gender doesn’t match their legal documents. Heterosexual couples were denied the right to marry simply because our federal government does not yet have a process for declaring gender, especially a gender outside the gender binary. The terms “Gay Marriage” and “Same-Sex Marriage” suggest a binary gender construct - Men with Men and Women with Women. It erases the multitude of combinations between biology, psychology, and spirituality that make up Gender.
If you want to be inclusive and welcoming to all persons, regardless of gender, when discussing this monumental decision, please choose to use “Marriage Equality” because that’s really what this decision means. Everyone, regardless of sex or gender can marry and have the right to the privileges and protections granted to married couples in America.
Thankfully many of our nation’s leaders understand the far reaching impact of this decision:
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.” – Kennedy, writing for the majority
“Marriage responds to the universal fear that a lonely person might call out only to find no one there. It offers the hope of companionship and understanding and assurance that while both still live there will be someone to care for the other.” – Kennedy, writing for the majority
"There's so much more work to be done to extend the full promise of America to every American. But today, we can say in no uncertain terms that we've made our union a little more perfect." — President Barack Obama.
"This decision recognizes the fundamental truth that our love is all equal. Today is a great day for America. #LoveWins" — Tweet from first lady Michelle Obama.
"So while we celebrate the progress won today, we must stand firm in our conviction to keep moving forward. For too many LGBT Americans who are subjected to discriminatory laws, true equality is still just out of reach." — Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democratic presidential contender.
"This decision is about creating a future where loving, committed families are able to live with dignity. This is about freedom. This is about love. This is transformative, not only for LGBT families, but for America." — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D.-Calif.
"Today's ruling strikes a blow to inequality and discrimination throughout the nation, and that's good for Americans' mental health." — Renee Binder, president of the American Psychiatric Association, which in 1973 removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.
The tide is turning for LGBTQ persons in this nation, in our culture. I look forward to the day when no one has to fear being assaulted, discriminated, degraded, or discarded because of who they are or who they love. I fear for the LGBTQ youth and adults who take this opportunity to live and love authentically and find themselves facing abandonment from their friends and family, discrimination from their jobs and housing, and assault from strangers wherever they go. June 26th, 2015 is a monumental day in American History, but the fight for equal rights and protection under the law and cultural acceptance continues.